With training camps across America set to start this week here are some very early predictions for the upcoming season. These predictions were inspired by Mark Bradley's own college football prognostications (hat tip to BnB). You will probably notice the conspicous absence of a certain team, I will have a series of predictions for the Bucs closer to the start of the season. Well deserved mocking can be directed towards the comment section.
- Much to PETA's chagrin Vick will play this season. Vick means too much to the Atlanta franchise NOT to play but will sit out the last five or six games of the season citing injury concerns (real or imagined). Most pundits will blame Vick's legal troubles for his poor play ignoring Ron Mexico's poor play prior to the federal dog fighting charges.
- Carolina will win the NFC South after finally realizing DeAngelo Williams is the better runningback than the oft-injured DeShaun Foster. John Fox is too good of a coach to waste Williams' talent for another season. Carolina seems to alternate between mediocrity and excellence every two years. In 2005 the Panthers made the NFC Championship game and in 2003 they went to the Super Bowl. In 2004 and 2006 they missed the playoffs.
- The Saints will fall back down to earth. The best story from last season, the Saints will struggle with a more diificult schedule and the loss of Joe Horn. New Orleans weakness on defense, notably the linebackers, will be exposed.
- The Pats will make a run at the '72 Dolphins undefeated regular season record but will lose to Baltimore early in December. The two teams will meet again in the AFC Championship game to different results. The Tom Brady-Joe Montana comparisons will return in full force, and football fans everywhere outside of New England will despise the Patriots quarterback all that much more.
- The Raiders will finish the season with the worst record in the NFL for the second straight year. Even though Al Davis has become the crypt keeper Lane Kiffin will stay on for another year but will either quit or be fired half way thorugh the 2008 season.
- Chicago will again finish with the best record in the NFC but San Francisco will be the surprise team in the NFC finishing with the second best record in the conference. Frank Gore will become a household name as he leads the NFL in rushing, narrowly edging out Willis McGahee. Clinton Portis will bounce back and finish the season ranked in the top ten in rushing yards. The U's fourth runningback, Edgerrin James, will continue his run of mediocrity in Arizona.
- The Chargers will run LaDainian Tomlinson to the point of exhaustion under new head coach Norv Turner, who loves to pound the rock. Tomlinson, who ranks 26th all time in rushing attempts (which is more than Shaun Alexander and Jamal Lewis), will be injured going into the playoffs and Phillip Rivers will be too inexperienced to carry the offense. San Diego fans will quickly realize getting rid of Schottenhiemer may have been a bad idea (if they don't already).
- Indy will win their division but lose in the first round of the playoffs. Fans will not be seperated from Peyton Manning for long, we will be bombarded with Peyton commercials until the Super Bowl.
- In a rematch of 2003 Carolina will play New England in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the game will be played to the same results as in 2003. Peter King and Bill Simmons will try to out do each in their slurping of Tom Brady, with Peter King winning out when he claims Brady to be the Greatest Athlete in the History of the World.
You have you own predictions for NFL teams not named the Bucs? Drop them in the comments so I can mock you.